In 1995, Michael Kent was snapping at the heels of the hallowed names on the Melbourne trainer's premiership list. He won the Victorian mid-week trainer's premiership for the 1993/94 season and in 1994/95, he won the VOBIS trainer's Premiership and became the youngest ever top 5 trainer in Melbourne.
During this period, he trained numerous Group 1 and Group 2 winners including the Group 1 South Australian Derby with Bullwinkle.
Kent, along with Lee Freedman, was then considered the man most likely to replace the Hayes name at the top of the premiership. Colin, David and Peter Hayes won 19 straight titles in Melbourne up to 1995-1996.
As it turned out, Lee Freedman went on to claim the 1996-1997 premiership while Kent - motivated by a sense of adventure and the desire to secure his financial future - headed to Asia.
In 1996, Kent was granted a trainer's licence by the Singapore Turf Club. In his first season, he was the leading MRA trainer by strike rate. In the following season, he finished second in the MRA trainer's premiership and then finished second in the Singapore trainer's premiership for the 2000 season.
During this period, he also trained the winner of the first $1 million dollar race in Singapore - the 1999 Singapore Gold Cup with Carry The Flag and he prepared Southerly Wind to win all 3 legs of the Tiger Beer Triple Crown Challenge, the only horse to do so. These were just two of countless major races wins for him in South East Asia.
The success has continued unabated since his return - despite limited numbers and against the backdrop of reestablishing himself in what may well be the toughest training arena anywhere in the world.
Steve Moran says:
'It is his lateral thinking, attention to detail, raceday planning and constant search for a 'better way' which sets him apart from many of his contemporaries.
Witness his Group 1 win with Absolutely in the 2011 AJC Oaks when his intimate knowledge of tracks and track conditions enabled him to have an edge as he plotted the right path with jockey Brad Rawiller. Nobody reads a track better than Michael Kent.
That level of planning now manifests itself in his desire to win races at the top level; to ensure, as much as possible, a return on investment for his owners and embrace a future which now includes his son Michael who has passionately thrown himself into dad's training operation.
Fastidious in his feeding and a master conditioner in the old fashioned way, he is also quick to explore and embrace new techniques including physiological and genetic research; sophisticated heart rate and lactate monitoring and developments in heart and lung capacity evaluation'.